Distributed Architecture is a New York-based design and research practice run by architects Catherine Ahn and Fabrizio Furiassi. The practice is committed to designing participatory and instigative processes that strengthen communities and bring equity, diversity, and inclusion into the built environment. Distributed Architecture is a current recipient of the NYSCA & The Architectural League of New York’s Architecture + Design Independent Projects Grant (2022-2023), and the Columbia University GSAPP Incubator Prize (2021-2022 & 2022-2023). Catherine Ahn and Fabrizio Furiassi work at the intersection of pratice and academia, and currently lead a unit at the AA Visiting School Seoul.

Catherine Ahn is an architectural designer and researcher based in New York and Seoul. She has over ten years of professional experience in cultural, residential, and hospitality projects at SITE, Obra Architects, and Andrew Franz Architect. Catherine graduated in architecture at Princeton University SoA and the Cooper Union. She also studied at the Hongik University. Catherine was a research fellow at the Institute for Public Architecture in New York where she investigated new modes of community engagement with industrial stakeholders around Newtown Creek. Recently, she has completed research projects on construction and demolition waste, environmental justice, and collective design pedagogy at the Women’s School of Planning and Architecture (WSPA) with the Princeton Mellon Initiative.

Catherine’s awards include the Peter W. Bruder Memorial Prize for Excellence in Structures (2009) and the Abraham E. Kazan Award for Urban Design Studies (2009) from Cooper Union; the Howard Crosby Butler Fellowship (2019), the Robert Geddes Post-Professional Award (2020) and the Suzanne Kolarik Underwood Prize (2020) from Princeton University SoA. She was shortlisted for the AIANY / ASLANY’s  Transportation + Infrastructure Design Excellence Award (2020).

Fabrizio Furiassi is an architect, researcher and educator based in New York and Basel.  He teaches architectural history/theory and design studio at The New School and has over ten years of professional experience at architecture firms and cultural institutions, including at Sou Fujimoto Architects in Tokyo, Obra Architects and the Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery (GSAPP Exhibitions) in New York. Fabrizio holds master’s degrees from Columbia University GSAPP and La Sapienza University of Rome. He also studied at the Moscow Institute of Architecture, and was a research fellow at the Strelka Institute. Fabrizio is currently developing research at the University of Basel. His work traces the urbanization of Sicily during Italy’s postwar building boom, elucidating the social and spatial impacts of the Mafia’s concrete developments. An introduction to the project was  published in Log 53: Why Italy Now?

Fabrizio’s awards include the Tutoring Fellowship (2009) and the Extra-EU Mobility Grant (2013) from La Sapienza University; the Torno Subito Grant (2014-2015 & 2016-2017) from Regione Lazio;   the Research Fellowship (2015-2016) from Strelka Institute; the Avery Scholarship (2018-2019) from Columbia University; the Doc.CH (2022-2026) and the Mobility Research Grant (2023) from the Swiss National Science Foundation. He was shortlisted for the Archiprix International / MIT (2011), and the EUMiesAward / Young Talent Architecture Award (2016) sponsored by the Fundació Mies van der Rohe.

For new projects and general inquires, please drop us a line at 
info@distributed-architecture.com.

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Assembly, or a Mosque for All

In a suburban area with very few occasions of social gathering, the new mosque near Preston, Lancashire, is conceived as both a unique religious landmark and platform for social encounters. Accessible to all and intended to become a meeting point for the entire community, the area is designed to function as a public park to encourage human relations and cultural exchange in a country, the UK, where historically the Muslim community is the singularly most victimized, scrutinized, demonized, and marginalized.

To leverage the area dedicated to the park, the building develops its program vertically in respect of the Islamic tradition of juxtaposing functions in religious edifices. For the same reason, the parking is located underground and is connected to the free-for-all entrance of the mosque through a narrow excavated pathway. The building is constructed with renewable materials relying on local availabilities and craftsmanship, and is composed of two independent elements: a three-level timber structure accommodating the required functions, and a perforated envelope regulating the interior light and temperature during the different seasons. The combination of these two elements—the container and the contained—aims to reflect a new approach to orientation in the design of mosques that expands the relationships between inner spaces, voids, enclosures, and the external landscape calling for the site to become the place of a vivid activity. In respect of the believers, the prayer hall is elevated to the building’s highest floor and remains separate from the other spaces open to Muslim and non-Muslim visitors. While featuring double amenities such as restrooms, ablutions, cloakroom, and vertical connections, the interiors of this mosque differ from the typical setting by allowing equal access to the diverse spaces regardless of gender.

Location:   Preston, Lancashire (UK)
Client:        RIBA
Program:   Religion, Park, Public Space
Status:       Competition Entry
Year:           2021
Team:         Fabrizio Furiassi





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